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RangerWest

Ph.D. in physics--quickest route to 3D game design? What's GTA written in? Halo?

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Hello! I have a Ph.D. in physics, and I was looking for the quickest route to 3D game design. What are the best tools for producing interactive 3D graphics? What's the shortest line to get there? I've coded some 3D applications in C++, but I'd be happier using tools to get there for designing games. I'm prepared to put the time in, and any help in pointing me down the right pat is greatly appreicated! What are GTA and Halo developed in? What are the best tools? What games are the easiest to mod? What are the least expensive engines? Thanks so much for helping out a newbie! Ranger :)

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Regarding modding games, probably UT200X and Half-Life are great for the job, mostly because of the big community of modders around them, so If youre into modding, you should check out these two.

Engines.... well, If you want commercial, then I guess Torque engine (100 box?) is the least expensive and its very recommended.
Also there is other one called TrueVision 3D which is worthy checking out.
Open source engines, crystal space and ogre seem to be very good ones. Check out
HERE for a list of 3d engines of all kind, free and commercial ones.

Now, I dunno what you reffer to when you say the shortest line... do you want to simply use an engine, or rather use a game development kit??? If your solution is the last one, then I guess something like gamestudio is what you're looking for.

[Edited by - darklordsatan on February 15, 2005 4:58:34 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I'm curious as to what a PhD in Physics has learned at past the BSc that would be applicable to game programming...?

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Original post by Anonymous Poster
I'm curious as to what a PhD in Physics has learned at past the BSc that would be applicable to game programming...?

having a PhD in physics shows that you have some serious talent/intelligence

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Thanks for the feedback!

Is Torque just as good of an end-to-end development tool as gamestudio?

What commerical games exist for Torque? For gamestudio?

It seems Torque might be more versatile and thus better to learn.

We have an idea for a game which involves flying F-22 raptors, boating, classic corvette car chases across the united states, and a big battle at the end--I'll be happy to provide more details in the near future.

I don't know how much a Ph.D. helps, but I guess I don't mind solving problems.

Relativity and quantum mechanics use a lot of matrix algebra--a lot of rotations, transformations, etc. Matrix algebra pervades every field, from condensed matter to theoretical models of the universe, so you get fairly comfortable with it.

How helpful a Ph.D. is depends on the field it was received in--guys who model 3D & 4D renderings of spacetime in C++, or design simulations of multi-body interactions, for example, should be able to jump right in. I did some of this, but worked on an artificial retina for blind people--a lot of 3D modeling of electrons & holes in phototranistsors--collisions, fields, etc.

But still, everything in life has a learning curve. :)

Although the principles of physics and math govern all the games, there's still a lot to know!

Thanks again for the advice/info!

Best,

Ranger

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Torque is a more capable engine than gamestudio, IMO. Torque was used in Tribes, Starsiege, and Tribes 2, and is currently used in a number of indie games.

If you want commercial-quality "AAA" results, you'd have to be prepared to put in a lot of effort in improving Torque, though, or license something off the shelf, such as the Unreal engine series, or the Far Cry Sandbox engine, or the Half Life 2 "Source" engine. That'll run you between $100k and $500k, though.

When I say "a lot of effort" I mean a team of programmers for at least a year. In addition to that, for anything that actually looks up to par with current games, you need at least a dozen texture and modeling artists, again working for more than a year (2 years is about minimum for a console game these days; large games go to 4 years).

If you just want to learn game design, in order to "break in" and work for one of the existing studios, then Torque ought to be fine. You should also at least be familiar with some kind of 3D modeling tool, such as 3d studio max, Maya, or perhaps Milkshape (although the latter isn't used professionally). Knowing world/level editors, such as GtkRadiant or the Unreal editor or WorldForge also helps. The only way to really learn these things is to do stuff with them, and then try it out, and then figure out what can be improved, and iterate.

Another approach would be to target a studio already now, and learn exactly the tool set you know they're using (you can usually find out by checking available PR/marketing information, or just call them up and ask). Most of the current engines ship their tool set for "modders" so it's easy to get started; just buy the game, install the editor, and off you go.

However, no matter where you're coming from, game design, or 3D game programming (two different things), take a lot of time to get right. They say that, no matter what the subject area is, it takes 10 years to "max out" in that area. If you're starting from scratch, well, be prepared to work at it for a while :-)

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Thanks for the feedback!

Where on the net are the biggest Torque communities?

If I write a game using Torque, is it easy to release it on multiple platforms?

Would it be possible to port it someday to Xbox/Playstation, or would that require an entire rewrite from the ground up? (I know this would be quite a project with a lot of $$$$, but is a straightforward port feasible)

Suppose I need airplanes (F-22 Raptors), cars (Corvettes), weapons (guns, bombs, RPGs), and characters (male lead, female lead, robodrones, and roboclones with special skillsets), where is the best place to find the code/art for these?

It seems garagegames.com has a lot of these, but are where are the biggest Torque repositories/communities?

Thanks so much!

Best,

Ranger

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Quote:
Original post by RangerWest
If I write a game using Torque, is it easy to release it on multiple platforms?

Would it be possible to port it someday to Xbox/Playstation, or would that require an entire rewrite from the ground up? (I know this would be quite a project with a lot of $$$$, but is a straightforward port feasible)


It's entirely possible. It may be a lot of effort (depending on how you work your code).

Quote:
Original post by RangerWest
Suppose I need airplanes (F-22 Raptors), cars (Corvettes), weapons (guns, bombs, RPGs), and characters (male lead, female lead, robodrones, and roboclones with special skillsets), where is the best place to find the code/art for these?


You can find 3D model packages all over the internet. Just do a Google search for it or browse around here at http://www.gamedev.net/

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by Shai
Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
I'm curious as to what a PhD in Physics has learned at past the BSc that would be applicable to game programming...?

having a PhD in physics shows that you have some serious talent/intelligence


And thru out the course of getting this alleged ph.D you never learned to use google?

Look at the 'start here' link at the top of the page.

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Thanks everyone!

What are the best indy games developed by Torque?

What are the best Torque games developed by one person, end-to-end?

What are the best commercial Torque games?

What are the best indy Torque games?

I'm just trying to get a broad picture of Torque's power.

Thanks again for all the feedback. It's rocked. :)

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Thanks again guys!

For anyone who has developed an indy or commercial game, what kind of community software did you use for:

1) hosting/building/attracting the development community
2) hosting/building/attracting the player's community
3) selling the game
4) publicizing the game

Did anyone use nuke software such as phpnuke and postnuke? What would you recommend for building the above presences on the web.

Basically, if you were to distribute/sell your game on a shoestring tomorrow, what kind of software would you use for the web presence?

Live links to examples always rock.

Thanks!

Ranger :)

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Basically, if you were to distribute/sell your game on a shoestring tomorrow, what kind of software would you use for the web presence?


I would program a custom content management system. Whenever I see a site that is based off of the *nuke cms I can tell. It doesn't feal professional, nor unique. By completely coding the website yourself you get what is needed for the game, and not so much of all the features that plague the nuke cms. Also by programming your own cms you get to know how the system works, enabling you to get better results when writing your own code further down in development.

http://harrypotter.ea.com/
http://thesims.ea.com/
http://www.idsoftware.com/games/quake/quake3-gold/
http://www.gameoftheyear.com/

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Now, I really don't have any experience with game development tools/engines (trying to learn how to do it myself), but make sure you aren't jumping in too deep too soon. Graphics and ideas are only half the process. Game logic and internal design are pretty big parts. My first big project I did as a school requirement and even though it has only been a year, I still cringe at it has due to my inexperience. I don't know if you have done much in the way of logic/scripting programming, but step your way into it. Get a style down, and making a big game can get so much easier. Your idea looks awesome though. And a Ph.D. in physics. That had to be sooo much work. This project is easily within your grasp with a little building. Go for it!

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Screw any engines... I suggest picking up SDL for a framework, and use OpenGL for your 3d stuff. It will be awsome to see what you can come up with for real-time simulation. Welcome to the community.

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I'm totally humbled by game developers.

I might have a Ph.D. in physics, but when I see or play a good game, it blows me away--all the coding, art, storytelling, and design, and the massive coordinated collaboration--it just blows me away.

I've always loved literature, storytelling, movies, and physics.

It seems that all of these are converging in video games.

I'll be setting up some sites to get the project(s) underway:

[URL=http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=301400]AUTUMN RANGERS[/URL]

It might take years to complete, but that's OK.

I've spent two years on a 500 page novel and feature-length screenplay, with the same classical/contemporary plot--there's a lot of action and cool characters including a US Marine (Ranger), a supercompuer with AI (APRIL), a hot folksinger with special powers created by APRIL (Autumn), and evil RoboDrones and RoboClones also created by APRIL after she was turned against Ranger. [URL=http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=301400]AUTUMN RANGERS[/URL]

I have an agent and I've been living out in Hollywood some--I may be involved in a conference that'll feature storytelling in videogames this spring.

I'm friends with a couple musicians who've had songs featured on MTV/TV--one got nominated for a grammy, so we could probably use their music for a movie/video game on down the line.

It'll be interesting to see which drops first--the screenplay/video game/novel/website.

But just working on Autumn Rangers is pay enough.

The best advice that I've ever seen, and it comes up over and over again, is follow your passions.

Joe Esteraus (Basic Instinct/Jagged Edge/Footloose) said it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it.
Practically every book on video game design I've seen says it.

Feel free to drop me a line at ranger@jollyroger.com

If anyone lives in the Research Triangle (North Carolina) or LA, it could be fun to meet up.

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